Information Launch

Friday, April 13, 2018

NIH-funded research finds omega-Three fails to yield useful ends in the clinic.

Omega-Three fatty acid dietary supplements taken orally proved no higher than placebo at relieving signs or indicators of dry eye, in line with the findings of a well-controlled trial funded by the Nationwide Eye Institute (NEI), a part of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being. Dry eye illness happens when the movie that coats the attention not maintains a wholesome ocular floor, which may result in discomfort and visible impairment. The situation impacts an estimated 14 p.c of adults in the USA. The paper was revealed on-line April 13 within the New England Journal of Drugs.

Annual gross sales of fish- and animal-derived dietary supplements quantity to greater than a $1-billion market in the USA, in line with the Diet Enterprise Journal. Many formulations are offered over-the-counter, whereas others require a prescription or can be found for buy from a well being care supplier.

“The trial gives essentially the most dependable and generalizable proof so far on omega-Three supplementation for dry eye illness,” stated Maryann Redford, D.D.S., M.P.H., program officer for medical analysis at NEI. Regardless of inadequate proof establishing the effectiveness of omega-3s, clinicians and their sufferers have been inclined to strive the dietary supplements for a wide range of circumstances with inflammatory elements, together with dry eye. “This well-controlled investigation performed by the independently-led Dry Eye Evaluation and Administration (DREAM) Analysis Group reveals that omega-Three dietary supplements aren’t any higher than placebo for typical sufferers that suffer from dry eye.”

The 27-center trial enrolled 535 individuals with at the least a six-month historical past of average to extreme dry eye. Amongst them, 349 folks have been randomly assigned to obtain Three grams each day of fish-derived omega-Three fatty acids in 5 capsules. Every each day dose contained 2000 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1000 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This dose of omega-Three is the best ever examined for treating dry eye illness. The 186 folks randomly assigned to the placebo group obtained 5 grams each day of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) in equivalent capsules. Research individuals and the researchers didn’t know their group project.

Blood checks at 12 months confirmed that 85 p.c of individuals within the omega-Three group have been nonetheless compliant with the remedy. Within the omega-Three group, imply EPA ranges quadrupled versus no change within the placebo group. Imply ranges of oleic acid, the constituent of olive oil, remained secure in each remedy teams.

Importantly, in contrast to in most industry-sponsored trials, all individuals have been free to proceed taking their earlier medicines for dry eye, corresponding to synthetic tears and prescription anti-inflammatory eye drops.

“Omega-3s are typically used as an add-on remedy. The research outcomes are within the context of this real-world expertise of treating symptomatic dry eye sufferers who request extra remedy,” stated research chair for the trial, Penny A. Asbell, M.D., of the Division of Ophthalmology on the Icahn Faculty of Drugs at Mount Sinai in New York Metropolis.

Affected person-reported signs have been measured as change from baseline within the Ocular Floor Illness Index, a 100-point scale for assessing dry eye signs, with larger values representing larger severity. After 12 months, imply signs scores for folks in each teams had improved considerably, however there was no important distinction within the diploma of symptom enchancment between the teams. Symptom scores improved by a imply of 13.9 factors within the omega-Three group and 12.5 factors within the placebo group. A discount of at the least 10 factors on the index is taken into account important sufficient for an individual to note enchancment. General, 61 p.c of individuals within the omega-Three group and 54 p.c of these within the management group achieved at the least a 10-point enchancment of their symptom rating, however the distinction between the teams was not statistically important.

Likewise, there have been no important variations between the teams when it comes to enchancment in indicators of dry eye. Indicators of dry eye have been evaluated by the clinician utilizing standardized checks that measure the quantity and high quality of tears and the integrity of the cornea and the conjunctiva, the floor tissue that covers the entrance of the attention.

“The findings additionally emphasize the issue in judging whether or not a remedy actually helps a specific dry eye affected person,” stated the chief of the coordinating heart for the research, Maureen G. Maguire, Ph.D., of the Division of Ophthalmology on the Perelman Faculty of Drugs on the College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. “Greater than half the folks taking placebo reported substantial symptom enchancment in the course of the year-long research.”

“The outcomes of the DREAM research don’t help use of omega-Three dietary supplements for sufferers with average to extreme dry eye illness,“ Dr. Asbell concluded.

The research was funded by NEI grants U10EY022879 and U10EY022881.

For extra details about dry eye, go to  

NEI leads the federal authorities’s analysis on the visible system and eye illnesses. NEI helps primary and medical science applications to develop sight-saving therapies and tackle particular wants of individuals with imaginative and prescient loss. For extra info, go to

Concerning the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH):
NIH, the nation’s medical analysis company, consists of 27 Institutes and Facilities and is a part of the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers. NIH is the first federal company conducting and supporting primary, medical, and translational medical analysis, and is investigating the causes, therapies, and cures for each widespread and uncommon illnesses. For extra details about NIH and its applications, go to

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Well being®


The Dry Eye Evaluation and Administration Research Analysis Group. 2018. Omega-Three fatty acid supplementation for remedy of dry eye illness. N Engl J Med. Revealed on-line April 13.


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